Product searches online can be very focused and fast – with little time wasted on distracting displays or other customers in your way. Clever application of your shopping history enables retailers to personalise your experience with relevant content and incentives to buy. When you can see that an item is in stock it increases the likelihood of a purchase. Price and product comparisons are easy and delivery is generally very convenient.
Being online and going into stores each have their strengths and weaknesses. Customers, quite rightly, want the benefit of both. Leading retailers understand this and know that a well-planned and executed multichannel strategy integrates store and online experiences (with emphasis now on mobile). For those businesses whose product can be offered or supported online (name ten that can’t), the opportunities for sales growth by integrating store and mobile aren’t just a nice-to-have, they are rapidly becoming the only route forwards. Combining the two ‘channels’ of store and mobile creates a fully immersive, ultra-convenient way to shop – and offers retailers the chance to gather, analyse and act upon data that was previously invisible to them.
Research shows both that retailers strongly believe in the future of physical stores and that those stores are boosting online sales:
In a recent article, Internet Retailing’s Paul Skeldon (internetretailing.net) cites a report* showing that 79% of retailers are prioritising their in-store sales over online retail over 2017/18. And British Land’s own commissioned research shows that opening a new physical store increases local online traffic to a retailer’s website by an average of 52% (84% for chains with fewer than 30 stores) – sustained for 15 weeks before settling to a higher level than prior to the store opening (source: retaildesignworld.com).